Vehicular homicide is defined in Florida Code section 782.071 as the killing of a human being or a viable fetus by operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm. Individuals who are driving under the influence of alcohol may be charged with vehicular homicide or may be charged with related offenses including DUI manslaughter as defined in Florida Statute 316.193.
Vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter are felonies, which means you will be incarcerated if convicted. In fact, according to 316.193, a person convicted of DUI manslaughter faces a mandatory minimum term of four years of imprisonment. These charges are very serious and you must have qualified legal assistance from an experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney to protect your legal rights if you have been accused of vehicular homicide. At The Ansara Law Firm, our attorneys have represented many clients accused of vehicular homicide and we can put our legal knowledge to work to help you get the best possible outcome from your vehicular homicide case.Florida Laws on Vehicular Homicide
In the state of Florida, the potential penalties you face if a death results from a DUI will vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and on the specific charges brought against you. For instance:
- DUI manslaughter may be charged as a first or a second-degree felony.
- Vehicular homicide may also be charged as a first or a second-degree felony.
Penalties for a second degree felony are defined in 775.082, s. 775.083, and/or s. 775.084 and include up to 15 years of imprisonment, Penalties for a first degree felony include up to 30 years of imprisonment.
You will face these penalties if you are driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. This can be proven by showing your BAC was above the legal limit of .08 at the time, or by showing that your facilities were affected due to your drug and alcohol use. It is the burden of the prosecutor to prove that you actually were impaired at the time of the accident leading to the death. The prosecutor must demonstrate your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be convicted.
There are a number of possible defenses that you may explore in order to attempt to avoid conviction. For instance, you may cast doubt on the prosecutor's case by introducing evidence suggesting that the test of your blood alcohol content (BAC) was faulty or improper. You may also introduce evidence that you were not actually impaired at the time when the accident occurred (for instance, your BAC keeps going up after you stop drinking so just because you had a high BAC when tested at the hospital after an accident doesn't mean you had one when you were actually behind the wheel).
Defending yourself or arranging a plea bargain is very important when you are charged with vehicular homicide in connection with a DUI, as a guilty verdict can mean many years of imprisonment. You need a skilled lawyer to help you understand your legal rights and pursue your case in the best way possible.
If you have been charged with vehicular homicide in South Florida, call The Ansara Law Firm today for your free initial consultation at (954) 761-4011! You can also contact us online. It only takes a minute to call, but it can make all the difference in the world.